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CMJ Music Marathon Artist Interview: Stolen Jars

 

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Chatting with Stolen Jars on the patio.

Cody Fitzgerald and Molly Grund of Stolen Jars met up with your KJHK Music Directors Kayci Lineberger and Harrison Hipp on the boisterous, teeming patio of Union Pool in Brooklyn, NY before they played a beautiful, intimate set on the last night of CMJ Music Marathon. As the closer of the Team Clermont official showcase, they followed Tuff Sunshine, J Fernandez, Christian Lee Hutson, and Shana Falana. We got to chat about their most recent release, Tegan and Sara, music venues that feel like wombs, Elvis Costello, and more. Grab their freshly released 2nd LP, Keptfo’ free, as well as their self-titled debut album.

 

Harrison Hipp: We’re here with Stolen Jars, you guys want to introduce yourselves and what you do in the band?

Cody Fitzgerald: Hey, I’m Cody, I sing and play guitar.

Molly Grund: And I’m Molly, and I sing. And stand. And I dance sometimes.

Kayci Lineberger: So how has CMJ been thus far?

Cody: It’s been really hectic. Four shows in three days is kind of a lot. We’ve played two shows at Pianos, and then one at Cameo Gallery before it closes forever.

Molly, Cody, Kayci, & Harrison: Aww.

Harrison: I didn’t know that, that’s such a  beautiful venue.

Cody: Yep, it’s going away. Sadly. The light show that exists on the ceiling will be gone forever.

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Stolen Jars members Cody Fitzgerald (left) and Molly Grund (center) on stage at Union Pool.

Kayci: That thing is beautiful, and somewhat entrancing.

Molly: I’m working on a tweet in my head that I think is really funny, about how playing at Cameo is like how it might feel for a really glamorous person to leave the womb.

Kayci: It is very warm….and tight…it’s womby.

Molly: Yeah, I haven’t gotten it down to 140 characters yet.

Cody: Keep working!

Kayci: Cameo is awesome. You guys are are Dirty Projectors fans right?

Molly & Cody: Yeah!

Kayci: You guys shared a stage with Angel Deradoorian last night at Cameo, how was that?

Molly: It was so cool! She kept walking by us, and Cody was like “Molly, talk to her, talk to her,” and I was too scared! I can’t talk to her, she’s too…. she’s like a magical pixie fairy, just floating around in a higher plane of existence.

Kayci: She’s in the fourth dimension, somehow. She looked beautiful, too, with that red wrap around dress.

Cody: Ah, jeez. And her voice!

Kayci: Yeah! So, do you guys have a favorite New York venue to play at?

Cody: I love playing at Baby’s All Right, and Elvis Guesthouse is cool, it’s like being in a swimming pool.

Kayci: Yeah, it did smell like a pool.

Harrison: They had free bagels though, so it’s worth wading out the chlorine smell. Do you guys have a favorite New York venue to attend, not necessarily play at?

Cody: I love Bowery Ballroom.

Molly: I was about to say Bowery Ballroom!

Cody: We’ve never played there.

Molly: Someday! But yeah, I really like that venue.

Cody: It’s so small, and so many big artists play there.

Molly: The last show I went to, well, it was a little awhile ago, but Dan Deacon was there, and it was so fun!

Cody, Kayci, & Harrison: Mhm. 

Molly: It was such small, intimate quarters but we still played those ridiculous games that he does.

Kayci: His crowd interactions are great. What else have you guys seen this week at CMJ?

Cody: We saw this band called Shopping, have you heard of Shopping?

Kayci: I’ve been hearing a lot of people here freakout about Shopping.

Cody: They’re great. I had no idea who they were, and just walked in and it was dancey, and punky, but with sweet female vocalists. Ah, man. I saw Mitski too, did you guys catch Mitski?

Kayci & Harrison: No!

Cody: Ah, she played a solo show with an electric guitar, which is so hard you know, to make an amazing show out of that. But it was one of the best shows I’ve seen.

Molly: And then yesterday at Cameo Gallery we were on with Emperss Of, and LE1F, who were both so good!

Cody: We really wanted to see Porches, but we were playing a different show at the same time.

Kayci: You win some, you lose some. That’s CMJ!

Molly: Oh yeah.

Kayci: So. What do you guys do besides the band? Who are you as humans?

Cody: So I just moved to Brooklyn from Jersey, I graduated from Brown like three months ago.

Molly: And I’m still in school, finishing up my last year at Wesleyan Univeristy in Connecticut. I’m working on a studio art thesis there. So I’ll finish that within the year, and then I guess probably come here! I can’t actually conceive finishing the thesis at this point, so I haven’t thought beyond that.

Kayci: Totally an appropriate way to respond. It’s like, that’s going to happen.

Molly: Yeah, maybe! That’s where I’m at.

Harrison: Right on! So it’s been a few months since you guys released Kept, want to talk about what these past months have been like compared to the last year?

Cody: Last year was waiting to release an album we had finished a year and a half ago, so it was kind of like okay, now we actually get to release it and let people listen to this music. I was like “Oh, I forgot that I made that! I’m so excited, you get to listen to this thing I forgot I made!”

Kayci: So you guys just had it sitting around for awhile?

Cody: Yeah, I was in school, and was waiting, basically taking a year to figure out how the music business worked. And I was working on film scoring, and it just wasn’t the time. I was working on my thesis, too. Eventually we were like, “it’s time! It’s album release time!” It’s been great to get a lot of people to listen to it.

Kayci: A lot of wonderful things have been said.

Molly: It’s been really special. It’s very cool, because it felt so secret. Basically me and Cody listened to it, then our friends who live in the same place as us heard it because they had to listen to us playing the songs over and over again to figure out the mixes. So it’s been really cool to talk to people outside of that very small circle that we shared it with before it was out, and hear people’s thoughts about that. I’ve had people who I haven’t talked to in a long time come tell me they listened to the album and they liked it, and that’s been special.

Kayci: So how did you guys get Eli Crews and Jeff Lipton, the guys who mixed and mastered it on board? You finished recording and then…?

Cody: We finished recording the demo of rough mixes, and I just emailed Eli.

Molly: Cody is really good at the cold email.

Cody: Yeah, you just have to! I knew he did the tUnE-yArDs stuff and I just sent him the mixes and he liked it, and he wanted to do it! So that was easy. Then I hit up Jeff Lipton, and he really liked it too. It was just like “Oh, okay! Great. That was way easier than I thought it would be. I thought this would be a whole thing.” It was really easy, and they did an amazing job.

Kayci: Mhm, they’ve worked with a lot of huge people.

Molly: It’s crazy! Also, Jeff sent me a Christmas card!

Cody: Yeah, he sent us Christmas cards!

Molly: I didn’t even realize how it happened. Cody went to Boston to sit in with him on a session. But I have never met him before. And come Christmas time, I got a card in the mail.

Cody: He told me they sent out cards when I was there, and I was like, “Eh, I’ll put her down!”

Molly: It was great.

Harrison: So you guys have self-released both of your albums?

Cody: Yeah!

Harrison: How did you guys get hooked up with Team Clermont, and what has it been like to be an artist who is self-releasing?

Cody: I mean, it’s been good! We got hooked up with Team Clermont because our PR guy Daniel posted about the first song we released a while ago then Shil Patel happened to see it and liked it, and then emailed us. It seems that a lot of things are just me emailing somebody or somebody randomly emailing us and then it works out.

Harrison: The digital age!

Cody: Yeah, it’s been really good so far. It did really well on the radio due to Team Clermont, and I don’t know. It’s been a little weird because you know, it’s hard to say what labels do right now, we don’t know what labels do. It’s been nice to be in control of everything so far to determine what we are doing with the album, and what we want to do with this album, or what we want to do with the next album.

Kayci: Good ol’ creative liberty.

Cody: Liberty!

Kayci: So we only have a few more. Where have the inspirations for Kept come from, and give us some insight on your own musical histories.

Cody: First favorite song was Blue Chair by Elvis Costello, when I was little and dancing with my dad in the living room. That song is very important. Cranberries were my first favorite band, which is, it’s pretty great. More recently, like when we were making that album, it was Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, Bon Iver.

Molly: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

Cody: Yeah, and Dan Deacon. Ahhh. And Tegan and Sara!

Kayci: I remember Tegan and Sara from when The Con was a featured song on MTV when I was a teenager.

Cody: Yeah, they’re amazing.

Molly: Our drummer hadn’t heard The Con before a couple weeks ago.

Cody: My car can only play CD’s. There’s no tape, so you can’t do the tape playing thingy, and there’s no aux cable, so it’s a mix CD and regular CD kind of thing. So The Con is in the car because I randomly put it in forever ago, and we listen to it a bunch because it’s there, and it’s great. It’s like “Well, I guess we’re gonna put on Tegan and Sara, let’s just put on Tegan and Sara.” And I did that the other day, and our drummer was like “This is great!” and I was like, “I know.”

Kayci: That’s why they’re still in there.

Cody: Yeah. He was like “This drumming is great!”

Molly: And he got his little sister into it too.

Kayci: Tegan and Sara is sort of a little sister band.

Molly: In a good way, in the best way!

Harrison: So, one last question. If you guys had a supergroup that you could put together with three people, not bands, what would it be.

Molly: Oh god.

Cody: Oh this is disgusting, this is disgusting.

Kayci: I love this question, everyone freaks out.

Harrison: It doesn’t have to necessarily be super coherent.

Kayci: It can be all over the place. Mine was like J. Tillman, Elton John, and Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi.

Cody: Oh yeah, Ludovico. So I know I’ve said Elvis Costello, but….

Harrison: Hey, that’s not a bad pick. That’s not a bad place to start.

Cody: If I could make a song with Elvis Costello, that would be a dream.

Molly: Okay, so that’s one.

Cody: Alright Molly, your turn.

Molly: No no.

Cody: What do you mean no no?

Molly: I don’t want to go!

Cody: You know who you’re going to pick, just go!

Molly: You think while I think, because it’s going to take a while.

Cody: I don’t want to say more names, I need to include… you know.

Cody whispers into Molly’s ear.

Molly: Yeah, yeah!

Cody: Alright, so Steve Reich. This is a very hard question!

Kayci: I know, I know. That’s why we end with it!

They confer away from the microphone, then turn back around.

Cody: So we’ve decided we need a female vocalist.

They turn away again, whispering, then turn back.

Cody: You just can’t rush this, we’re trying to perfectly match them.

Harrison: I appreciate the deliberation.

Cody: You don’t want to have Elvis Costello, and Steve Reich, and then someone random.

Molly: It’s got to be a cohesive group of people!

Molly whispers in Cody’s ear.

Cody: Yeeeeees. Yeah. Yeah.

Molly: Okay, we’ve got it!

Cody: It’s Elvis Costello, Steve Reich, and…

Cody & Molly: Solange!

Harrison: Ooh, Solange. Solange Knowles?

Cody: That’s it, that’s who you need in the supergroup.

Kayci: Oh hell yeah! They’ll all learn so much from each other.

Cody: That was hard man, that was rough.  

Kayci: You guys powered through.

Molly: That got very stressful.

Cody: You just can’t say the wrong thing, it’s so important. If you put someone in the wrong supergroup, they’re stuck forever in that imaginary zone, hanging out and making music together.

Kayci: And that’s the beauty of why it’s fictional.

Harrison: Alright guys, well have a great CMJ, for what’s left of it, and thanks so much for talking with us.

Molly: Yeah, thanks for talking with us!